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Motion: Israel-Palestine

19 October 2023

I rise to speak on this motion, and in so doing I draw on one of the four pillars of my party, the Greens, that is, peace and nonviolence. I echo the comments made by my colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks. Like so many Australians, I was horrified to see the attack that was perpetrated on the people of Israel by Hamas a few weeks ago, and I condemn this unequivocally. There can be no justification for the murder of innocent people.

I was also deeply distressed to hear reports of antisemitism and Islamophobia in some parts of our country following this attack. Antisemitism and Islamophobia should not be tolerated and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Australia is a multicultural country and all members of our community have a right to feel safe and free from vilification or persecution. The Greens stand against all forms of hate speech and racism.

I have also been horrified to see the bombing of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, and I condemn this action. The decision of the government of Israel to bombard the Gaza Strip is in defiance of international law. As a result, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that nearly a million people have been displaced. People are also being denied access to clean drinking water, electricity and basic sanitation services. Innocent people are losing their lives.

The collective punishment of the people of Palestine—innocent civilians—is immoral. Hamas is a terrorist organisation. It does not represent the people of Palestine. The Greens are calling for an immediate ceasefire between the state of Israel and Hamas and a redoubling of international efforts to end the occupation and to establish a just and lasting peace. More war and bloodshed is not the answer. We know that war only results in more lives lost, more grief and more misery for those who are left behind.

I know that many South Australians will be deeply distressed by the events that are unfolding overseas. Whatever their politics, their religion or their background, I urge all members of our community to reflect on our common humanity and the intrinsic value of each and every human being. Let us treat each other with empathy and compassion during this time. As the late, great Martin Luther King once said:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.